Cheryl stores in the Meatpacking District and West Village
One of the best things about getting my hair done at Sally Hershberger Downtown--well, except for my hair itself--is that afterward, I get to go shopping in the Meatpacking District. I always make a trip to Jeffrey, which has some of the most lovely salespeople in the city. Sometimes I go into Alexander McQueen (although not this time). But this time, I had a bunch of new boutiques to check out and plenty of time in which to do it, while I waited for MW to shower and subway over to join me for brunch.

Washington Street is home to several new stores; Cintra Wilson pretty much said anything you'd need to know about Vince in her Critical Shopper column last week, so I didn't even bother. I also didn't go into the fairly new Paige Premium Denim store, partly out of reverence for its former tenant, the awesome Dernier Cri, and partly because Paige jeans don't fit me well anyway. It seems Scoop has reconfigured its stores; there's now a "Scoop It Up" outlet, and while I was tempted by a brocade 3.1 Phillip Lim skirt for $129, that was about all that caught my eye. A few doors down is the Helmut Lang boutique, which I thought I had heard was having an awesome sale, but that must have been at least a month ago, because everything that's in there now is from the spring collection, and full price, including this amazing featherweight leather and knit jacket, which, from what I can remember, was $1300. (Wasn't Helmut Lang supposed to be selling at a contemporary price point?) I do like what Michael and Nicole Colovos have done with the label, however the line turns up fairly frequently on Gilt Groupe and RueLaLa (as well as at Clothingline's sample sales), so I will wait for those.

I was most excited about Zadig & Voltaire, a French chain that was one of my favorites from my Paris trip; as I reported last summer, they already have a store in L.A., and while the New York store was supposed to open last fall, well, a few months late is better than never. Z&V has a very rock-chic vibe, with lots of tissue-weight knits, skinny yet slouchy pants, excellent leather bags, and subtle tattoo motifs that are more tasteful than tacky. I loved this butterfly sweater so much, I had to walk away quickly, lest I be unable to leave the store without it. I didn't buy anything at Z&V while in Paris (the exchange rate was atrocious when I was there), nor did I this time, but the prices weren't as bad as I had expected: Simple tanks were $90-ish; layered-look tunics veered into the high $200s. The aforementioned leather bags were so great, I was afraid to look at the price tags. The store is vast (unlike Helmut Lang, it appears to have the entire spring/summer line in stock), and the salespeople are friendly. My only complaint, however, is like most of the stores in the Meatpacking District, you have to ask a salesperson for your size--a concept I can understand when we're dealing with $2,000 dresses but not really with clothes at this price point.

I was also eager to visit the Ports 1961 boutique, which, after over a year of construction delays, finally opened during Fashion Week. Like the clothes, the store is a mix of textures, influences, and styles--a little quirky, but cool. In addition to the spring/summer line of clothes and accessories, they also have artsy books, knickknacks, and fragrances for sale; if the clothes are not your cup of tea, there are definitely some gift possibilities here.

After quick stops in Zero + Maria Cornejo (where I fell in love with this dress) and Maison Martin Margiela (where I ogled the gorgeous peak-sleeve jackets), I headed over to Bleecker Street. First, I popped into Bond No. 9 quickly to test the new Brooklyn fragrance; it's a fresh-woody scent, which is normally right up my alley, and from what I smelled of it, I liked it. Unlike most of the other Bond scents, however, it was gone from my arm is less than two hours. Love the bottle though. I also stopped into Mulberry quickly to check out the Mitzy Messenger bag in person; at $495, I found it pretty reasonably priced, considering the good reputation Mulberry bags carry (pun intended). I was really excited, however, about the new Diptyque boutique; ever since their location on Newbury Street in Boston had closed, there'd been a void in my life. Diptyque is best known for its candles, however I am a big fan of their personal-fragrance line--I wear Philosykos (a fig scent) in the summer. While I was almost seduced by the $72 body cream, I decided to spring for a small set of four fragrances, which was conveniently 50% off. (I even got samples too!) The store is very chic with its black walls and white displays, and the salesperson was very gracious and knowledgable. Funny how after a day of looking at $1500 leather jackets and even $300 cotton sweaters, an $88 perfume seems like a bargain.

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